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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #361281

Research Project: Precipitation and Irrigation Management to Optimize Profits from Crop Production

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Targeted, precision irrigation for moving platforms: Selected papers from a center pivot technology transfer effort

item LAMM, FREDDIE - Kansas State University
item PORTER, DANA - Texas A&M Agrilife
item BORDOVSKY, JAMES - Texas A&M Agrilife
item Evett, Steven - Steve
item O`Shaughnessy, Susan
item Stone, Kenneth - Ken
item KRANZ, WILLIAM - University Of Nebraska
item ROGERS, DANNY - Kansas State University
item Colaizzi, Paul

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/24/2019
Publication Date: 10/22/2019
Publication URL:
Citation: Lamm, F.R., Porter, D.O., Bordovsky, J.P., Evett, S.R., O'Shaughnessy, S.A., Stone, K.C., Kranz, W.L., Rogers, D.H., Colaizzi, P.D. 2019. Targeted, precision irrigation for moving platforms: Selected papers from a center pivot technology transfer effort. Transactions of the ASABE. 62(5):1409-1415.

Interpretive Summary: The decreasing supply of water from the Ogallala and High Plains aquifers for irrigation is a threat to agricultural productivity and sustainability in the Southern High Plains of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Agricultural production practices, including irrigation, must become more efficient to sustain productivity in the face of declining and increasingly expensive resources. Transfer to users of improved irrigation technologies and management methods is key to increasing irrigation water use efficiency and profitable sustainability. Because center pivot (CP) irrigation systems are used on 85% of Great Plains irrigated lands, USDA ARS and its university partners in Kansas and Texas focused on CP technology transfer in 2017 and 2018, with continuing effort in 2019. In addition to field days, irrigation workshops and conferences, the partners published nine journal articles highlighting the most forward-looking technologies and a hard look at the future of irrigation in the region. Four important factors were identified: Improving Technologies; Declining Aquifers; Continuing Climate Change and Emerging Water Policy, particularly in the southern part of the region. Precision irrigation methods and improved cultivars were identified as effective responses to this challenge. Using GPS location and guidance systems and mapping, precision irrigation systems based on weather, soil and plant sensing enable irrigation response to crop water needs as needs vary in space and time. By responding to stress periods and critical crop growth periods, this maintains yields and profitability in the face of declining water availability.

Technical Abstract: This article is an introduction to an ASABE Special Collection concerning Center Pivot Technology Transfer in this issue of Transactions of the ASABE consisting of 9 articles. The year 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of research and development with Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) for use with center pivot sprinkler irrigation systems. Since 1978, researchers, extension specialists, and industry have continued development of multiple types of technologies that are suitable for mobile lateral irrigation platforms. A two-year technology transfer effort with funding from the USDA-ARS Ogallala Aquifer Program (OAP) was initiated in January 2017 to promote adoption of advanced and efficient irrigation technologies and to highlight recommended practices for these mobile irrigation platforms [center pivot (CP) and lateral linear move (LM) systems]. The articles in this Special Collection address four major topic areas: In-canopy and near-canopy irrigation application from moving platforms, the history and status of irrigation in the US Great Plains region with its large concentration of CP and LMS systems, site-specific variable rate irrigation (VRI) technologies for moving platforms, and uniformity evaluations for CP systems. While these 9 articles are not inclusive of all the important advances in irrigation for moving platforms since 1978, they illustrate that continued progress occurs by combining engineering and agronomic sciences to make improvements in irrigation management. Pressurized irrigation from moving platforms is increasing in the USA and will be an important tool in meeting global food and water challenges. In addition to introducing and providing a brief summary of the Special Collection. This article provides additional rationale for the CP Technology Transfer Effort.